In a political maneuver aimed putting pressure on the White House for missing its Monday deadline to submit a budget, the Republican dominated House approved a measure to force the president to estimate when (if ever) the federal budget would be balanced and include how he plans to eliminate the budget deficit. The Require a PLAN Act unsurprisingly sailed through the House, in a mostly party-line 253-167 vote. Though, 26 Democrats, most of whom are politically vulnerable in 2014, broke from their party leadership in support of the bill. - See the vote here
NEXT PRESIDENT WILL INHERIT MASSIVE DEFICIT When President Obama moves out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in four years, the new occupants of The White House will likely have a massive deficit to deal with. The Fiscal Times’ Josh Boak reports“the deficit is poised to skyrocket as soon as Obama leaves the White House, hitting $978 billion by 2023 because of the strains put on Medicare and other programs because of retiring baby boomers and rising health care costs. Mandatory spending will consume 64 percent of the budget a decade from now…To get the debt-to-GDP ratio back to a historic level of 39 percent, the government would have to slash spending, hike taxes, or use a combination of both measures by $7 trillion over the next decade.” - Read more at The Fiscal Times
AGENCIES BRACE FOR FURLOUGHS As the looming sequester cuts draw near, government agencies are beginning to warn employees of potential furloughs and other cost cutting measures they are preparing to take if Congress allows the cuts to go through on March 1. The Fiscal Times obtained a memo distributed to employees from the Department of the Interior, laying out how the agency plans to proceed, should the cuts take effect. - Read the memo here
NIH WILL LOSE $1.6 BILLION The National Institutes of Health stand to lose $1.6 billion in federal funding if Congress allows the sequester to take effect on March 1. The Fiscal Times’ Eric Pianin reports that consumer advocates of health and science research warn that the massive cuts will seriously hamper research and medical advancements in areas like cancer, heart disease and AIDS as well as result in thousands of job losses across the country.
- Read more at The Fiscal Times
CALIFORNIA SCREAMING OVER TAXES Being a millionaire in the golden state is getting expensive. California’s wealthiest are starting to consider packing their bags after a confluence of new tax-the-rich levies took effect this year and slapped the one percent with a 51.9 percent combined federal and state income tax, the highest in the nation. - Read more at The New York Times